Friday, April 30, 2010

Deadlines, Goals and Pressure, Oh My!

I'm the first to admit I haven't exactly been working very hard lately.  I've been reading a lot, mostly non-fiction books about writing.  In particular, seeing how much time other people invest in their writing made me think honestly about my own position.  I can't physically work non-stop for hours without falling asleep or whatever right now.  Time is ticking on though.  I need to get a move on.

I got a fright the other day because I realised my next baby is due in ten weeks.  I've never gone full term so realistically I have eight weeks at most to get some real work done and that isn't even taking into consideration how uncomfortable it is for me to type right now and how that is going to get progressively worse as time passes on.  I'm running out of time.  How much can I even accomplish in 6 to 10 weeks anyway?

Going on past performance, if I get stuck in, I can finish a first draft in two weeks.  I've done it a couple of times now and it's the easiest part of the whole process.  Turning that first draft into something worthwhile is another thing but word count wise, I can get a lot done.  If I feel like it.  Therein lies the problem, I need goals and deadlines and pressure to get moving properly.  Going at a leisurely pace is probably not the best idea for me.  Especially when I'll be forced to slow down soon enough.

But until that happens, I have some time and I need some plans.  Ideally, I'd like to have a first draft of a novel finished.  It's started, it's plotted, but it still needs to be written down in detail.  I'd like to plan an outline of some sort for another novel.  I'm not too pushed on how detailed this has to be because I work out things in my head when I'm doing anything else so theoretically this shouldn't be too hard.  I'd like to get some real editing work done on another WIP.  That's my priority and that's the one which is most difficult to do because I don't have the time to distance myself from it.  I have other finished drafts that need an edit but this one is at the forefront of my mind no matter what I do therefore it gets priority.

I'm going to try and keep some sort of record of progress on my blog for myself.  I need the reminders and I need the pressure.  Publicising the things I haven't done seems to work quite well so I'm going to give it a go.  I'm hopeful I'll get a lot of work done in the next two months because the longer I stop, the harder it will be to get going again.  And the more work I get done now, the more I'll be able to read over when I can't write.  I don't know how long it will take for me to get back into writing on a daily basis after the baby is born but I plan on doing Nanowrimo this year again so I'll be back on form by then at the very latest.
The thing about setting goals and deadlines for myself is that everything can change.  I was supposed to go to college this year but it ended up being unworkable so I changed my goals for the year.  And now here I am changing them again.  I have a long term plan.  It's not exactly detailed but I only have a certain amount of time left at home.  When all of the children are in school then I'll have to go out to work.  Unless of course I pull off some success doing other things, like writing.  I'm more than realistic about the chances of me having to go outside the home to work.  But that doesn't stop me aiming for my goals.  In fact, it makes me even more determined to give it a good effort.

I'll probably be 30 when I have to make a choice.  It won't be solely my choice either.  But hopefully by then my choice will actually be a choice.  I hope I'll have options.  If I work hard then I'll have plenty of finished drafts/manuscripts to work with.  And I'll probably have a better idea of where I stand on the whole indie publishing side of things.  Ideally, I'll have the strength to make the right choice for me.  If I go back to work, writing will have to be a hobby - at least for a while.  Fecking hate that word.  That is what I'm dreading.  But it wouldn't be fair on me to keep indulging myself if my family are losing out.  They lose out everytime I'm preoccupied with developing a character or trying to figure a way out of a conflict I've created.  I've always known in the back of my mind that one day I'll have to choose between family or writing, my two greatest loves.  It's better for me to write, it's better for them if I have the sort of job I can leave behind at the end of the working day.  But until I have to pick, I'm going to enjoy both, give myself deadlines, put on a bit of pressure and aim for my goals.

Short term goals: 

  1. Get a new first draft finished.
  2. Plan a full outline for new novel.
  3. Edit full manuscript to a more polished level.
Long term goals:

  1. Get a lot more writing experience under my belt.
  2. Get a lot more indie publishing experience.
  3. Make a fully informed decision on a career path.

Write What You Know - Or Not

When people ask for writing advice, they are often told to write what they know.  It's easier, they are assured.  So, what do I know?

I know how to type fast.  I know how to use a computer.  I know how to change a poopy nappy in about three seconds.  I know how to negotiate with a toddler.  I know how to give birth.  I know how to be a nagging, over protective mother.  I know how to avoid cleaning at all costs.  I know how to tell I've had enough wine before I drink too much.  I know how to force 5 a day into my kids.  I know how to guilt trip my partner into cleaning poo off a small child who has removed their poopy nappy during the night and destroyed their cot. 

I live my own life every day.  Why on earth would I want to write about it?

If I stick to what I know, I'm left with Mommy lit, pretty much.  And yes, I can write it.  I used to write semi amusing articles on what it was like to be a parent/pregnant/insane.  They went down well but again, that leaves me reliving my regular life.

For me, writing is about escaping.  Creating.  Jumping into another world.  While I might take along some of my own experiences, most of the enjoyment I get from writing is developing the fantasy, the characters and the unbelievable.

A lot of people read about lives that are far away from their own.  I like to write about lives that are far away from my own.  I've dabbled in genres that were closer to home but the problem lies in the lack of excitement for me.  I find it so hard to get excited about writing things that happen to me every day.  Throw in something supernatural, paranormal or else something that is so new to me it requires weeks of research and I'm gloriously happy.  I really love researching.

I'm not opposed to writing about things you know.  But personally, I find it a lot easier to churn out words of make believe than those soaked in truth.  If you're stuck, switch it up a bit.  All of the rules that writers seem to come up can be broken.  Pet peeve number 451 - when writers do a course/attend a lecture and spout what they've heard as gospel truth forever more.  (And get mad when you don't listen to them.)

I say, don't write about what you know (unless you really want to).  Write about what you want to know and feel free to incorporate real life experiences into that.  But don't feel pressured into sticking with one genre or another.  Creativity is freedom, so let go.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trust Yourself - Write For You

I've been learning a lesson I thought I already knew.  Something in the universe has been throwing signs at me and who am I to ignore them?  I've always said you need to trust yourself and to let go of that doubt writers are often inflicted with.

I say I want to write for me.  I want to write what I enjoy and find readers like me.  People who will enjoy it too.  But then I doubt myself.  I panic.  I switch up and write for others.  And that doesn't work out.  You can't please everyone. 

That's so important I'll say it again.  You cannot please everyone.  No matter how epic your writing skills are, you will be going in one direction with a story.  Not everyone will want to follow.  But that's okay.  Because you need to write your story. 

Almost all of the most popular/prolific writers have weak books.  Why?  Maybe they're burnt out.  Maybe churning out a book or two a year for twenty years isn't working anymore.  And maybe, just maybe, they've stopped writing to please themselves and are only writing for others.  What they think people want.

Writing to fill an empty spot in a market or to fulfill a request or just because you're terrified what you come up with won't be good enough - not a great plan.  Trust yourself.  Write for you.  And you'll have a book you enjoy.  A book you're proud of.  And that's enough.  If you let it be.

Stupid Bloody Ads & Rage, Rage, Rage

*Warning - Rant Alert*

Yes, I've been poncing about with many, many template changes again.  I'm having trouble finding the right one.  It doesn't help when certain idiotic template sites lead me onto a big ass advertisement page that screws up my whole computer in its quest to get me to read some irrelevant crap about something I'm not even remotely interested in.  What kind of gobshite thinks that's going to get people to return to their site?  Unobtrustive ads can be vaguely annoying but are pretty easy to explore so when the whole fooking page disappears to be covered with some ridiculously pointless ad, I get enraged.

Hormonal?  Moi?  The fact that my daughter's hair falling out of the stupid bobbin holding it up five times in a row made me cry with anger this morning does not make me hormonal.  Nor does the fact that the nicest template I have ever seen is so fooked up with fixed widths and shite that even a week of fiddling with it can't help me use it.  Even the niggling irritations I feel when I'm asked to do something ridiculous to my characters such as forced marriages, kidnapping and *other* stuff doesn't make me hormonal. 

The fact that I'm pissed off there is still a few days until the next episode of Supernatural might make me slightly hormonal.  Or just obsessed, I'm not actually sure.  The extreme tantrum my 3 year old had today for absolutely no reason at all makes her hormonal.  My reaction to spin my head around 360 degrees was perfectly normal.  And who wouldn't cling to their loved ones like a limpet after having a nightmare about them? 

In fact the only thing that makes me hormonal is when people use the word hormonal to describe me.  I'm talking to you, Baby Daddy.  The fact this post has gone completely off topic is not even worth discussing.  It was the ads that started it.  Blame them.  And blame yourself if you're responsible for any of those stupid bloody ads that crash my laptop and make me crack up.  Just don't do it.

Better now.  Going to write.  Maybe.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Procrastination Can Be Productive Too

I still haven't technically gotten back to work yet.  I've been spending a lot of time rearranging documents and setting up new documents & folders and creating lists of things using pretty colours and stylin' fonts.  I'm making things easier for myself in the long run.  Hmm. 

I imported my blog feed list and it hasn't updated so I had to do it manually.  How am I supposed to procrastinate properly if I don't know exactly when a blog updates?  And really quick before I get back to boasting about how productive I am, it is be an agent for the day time again on Nathan Bransford's blog.  I can't tell you how fascinating I find queries to be.  I love reading them.  Apparently I'm not good at picking the best one because the one I liked least is the most popular.  :)

Back to me.  I made myself a little daily writing planner.  It's very cool and even includes breaks, forum lurking and blog hopping, all daily essentials that I need to get out of the way before I get to the good stuff.  See, I know me - I know if I don't allow for things like that, I'll end up doing them anyway.  Repeatedly.  So it's better to make them part of the job.  I separated my various writing tasks to keep myself on a strict schedule and onroute to a set target.  When I complete a task, I fill it in with a nice shade of green.  Just because.  I felt like I had accomplished something big.  A breakthrough on my way to becoming more productive.

Then I had a nap.  A long one.  When I woke up, it was late and I got distracted by some crushed ice.  Then I wasn't sure if I should start at the beginning of my schedule or not.  Then I remembered that I was supposed to try out that Storybook program and see what I thought about it.  Then, then, then, then, then.  I didn't get any real writing work done.  I am a lot more organised than I was last week on the other hand.  That counts, right?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Novel Writing Software

I've finally managed to move my folders from the broken laptop to a small netbook I gave up on ages ago.  There's nothing really wrong with the netbook, but I'm finding it a lot harder to edit on a smaller screen and have pretty much avoided writing altogether.  Browsing the net isn't exactly a joyful event either - not to mention having to sign into all three million accounts I seem to have online.  I'm not good with passwords and I have a passionate hatred towards any kind of login process. 

Technically I have everything I need to get back into working on "stuff" but I feel like I'm missing out on something.  Even though I've had a break for a few days aside from writing down a few notes on new scenes and ideas for new material, I'm not running at neck breaking speed towards my documents.  The break has really renewed my interest but I'm so unorganised that it is putting me at a disadvantage right now and I need something to help me re-organise.  It's a lot harder to focus on a tiny screen that shows like a paragraph at a time and comparing notes?  Not working out.

I've lusted after Scrivener for ages (because it looks cool) but there isn't a Windows version and that Macbook purchase is way off into the distant future.  So I've been looking at other free programs or at least programs with a free trial that I can test out.  I need something that will hold a lot of separate notes all on the one easy to read screen.  I had downloaded one program onto the old laptop but I forget the name and it wasn't much use either - aside from checking out how many times I overused a phrase.  I love that kind of feature. 

I've now downloaded Storybook which is supposed to keep track of characters and plot line strands which sounds really useful because of the type of editing and re-writing I'm doing.  I haven't really figured it out yet but if I was starting from scratch with something then it would probably be a lot simpler.  I may have to resort to the Post-It method of keeping tracking with the novels I've already started.  I've been looking for reviews or advice on the best type of software or manual method of keeping track but haven't had much luck so far.  Any recommendations or links would be thanked muchly.  I'm not completely dense, I have some sort of method, it just isn't working for me right this instant.  :)

Monday, April 26, 2010


Yes, there are more important things I could be doing but little black creeping insects on my counters instil a strange sort of need in me to declare war.  They are trying to take over my house.  I need to fight back.   I am not generally an ant hater but I think that might be down to the fact I had never seen a trail of ants in a house until we moved here last year.  That infestation was relatively quick but body shudderingly yucky all the same.  I don't like uninvited guests of any kind.  (Last year, my kids made friends with other kids because the number one game to play was Die, Ants, Die.  They didn't die.)

Over the weekend, my laptop was pretty much destroyed by an unnamed toddler.  Unnamed because nobody is naming names or pointing fingers.  Give them a few years and they'll be selling each other out - I hope.  I can't use it right now and had things to do so got up early and went downstairs to steal borrow my partner's laptop instead.  Technology is not a friend of mine, getting a lend of anything that requires a battery or a hard drive is a near impossible task.  Anything remotely electrical chooses not to work when I am around.  It's a very special gift I have.

Anyway, I went downstairs in the dark and of course mooched into the kitchen first.  I need snackage before I can work.  Turning on the light and carrying the kettle to the sink I drew back in horror as an army of ants threatened to descend upon me.  Okay, they all tried to run away as soon as I got near them but I gave a girlish shriek and frantically sprayed them with the nearest disinfectant type liquid before running for my life.  I'm not actually scared of ants, I just don't like to be surprised by a mass of crawling black things when I least expect it.

I ventured back into the kitchen when my heart resumed beating at a sensible pace and saw that the ants were all gone.  I'm not sure if they evaded the spray, chuckling devishly at my amateurish attempt to murder them or if the surviving but wounded ants bravely carried their fallen comrades away.  I don't really care, the fact that I didn't have to clean up any dead bodies meant score one to me.

I don't enjoy killing insects (although my cat seems to be having fun hunting them) so I've been looking for ways to make my home less appealing.  With small children and pets, there will always be something appetising to eat but it's only April, I can't handle six month infestation.  Google tells me there are a million and one ways to get rid of ants but they might not work, some ants are sturdier than others it seems and some less discerning in taste.  I've adjusted my online shopping list to include things like planted mint and scented baby powder in the hope they will keep away. 

If the many items on the list that might fool you into thinking I'm baking up quite a feast fail, I will be keeping an eye out for maize/cornmeal/whatever it is called over here as a last resort.  It seems kind of cruel to try and kill the whole colony but I'm having a baby this summer, if one ant crawls anywhere near her I will boil them.  And I'll get their Queen too.  Fair warning.  We don't have a garden so I have absolutely no idea where they are nesting but apparently all of the neighbours have them.  Short of opening jars of honey on all of their window ledges, I'm not sure how to distract the ants from my house until they feck off and die by themselves.  It's going to be an ant-obsessed summer - even now there are lines of salt and pools of vinegar decorating my downstairs.  Cleaning up in the mornings is going to be a bitch.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

IRS Complications

Smashwords have updated their information on withholding tax from non U.S. resident writers.  It seems aimed  at making things as complicated as possible.  Smashwords have said they were told you need a signed letter on Smashwords letterheaded paper to attach to a W-7 form.  (You tick options a and h and say that you are selling books with a U.S. distributor.)  This coincides with one IRS "help" documentation I've read but not another.  According to Amazon, all you need to attach is a copy of their terms & conditions, the date you registered your dtp account and links to your books on Amazon.  Although the Smashwords method sounds time consuming, it also sounds more legit.  I'm not 100% certain but I think you have to accumulate enough payments on Smashwords to cash out before you can apply for the headed letter for free.

Also worth noting that the IRS busy period is coming to an end at the end of April.  They have stated they won't look at W-7 forms until May but we're just there.  Don't forget the notarised copy of your identification.  It can take 8-10 weeks to receive a reply from the IRS assigning you an ITIN.  Once you receive this, you can fill out a W8-BEN form with the ITIN and then send this off to Smashwords and Amazon so they are in a position to end withholding.  If you don't do any of us then you'll be paying a withholding tax of 30%.  Lots of countries have tax treaties with the U.S. - Ireland's treaty provides a 0% tax rate on these earnings.  Although Smashwords seem to be making out that it isn't worth your while, it all depends on what you're earning and how much you'll stand to lose.

It is quite a bit of hassle and there is a small chance that Smashwords will work some magic on the IRS and work out some sort of deal but I wouldn't pin my hopes on it.  Thankfully, Smashwords are willing to defer payments in order to give people time to sort out the tax issues.  I don't think Amazon do this but their payout limit is at a much higher amount than Smashwords because they will only pay overseas authors by cheque. 

There are quite a few Irish writers who are self publishing ebooks, not to mention those from the U.K. and beyond.  We're all bound to go through this ITIN mess - nobody tells you about that before you start!  It would be so much easier if we could supply through a European office that could handle the IRS but until somebody comes up with a reasonably uncomplicated solution, we're all stuck with the above methods.  Part of the problem is the relatively new process of self publishing ebooks.  There aren't many precedents in place.  It's changing things slowly but some things are slower than others.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Some Love For Da People

Yesterday's post - Marketing, Promoting, Languishing - was probably a little narky.  Although I still agree with every word, it's the weekend so I decided to take a calming breath and go down a lighter route this morning.

Nice things, nice things, let me see . . . .

I can't be nice so I'll just go for things that have amused or informed me this week.  Read all the way down, you don't want to miss out on Trent, trust me.

Thanks to Zoe Winters for revealing this little gem that has the world up in arms right now.  Although the drama makes me glad I'm going indie right now too (you know, when I don't think about the things that instigated yesterday's post), between that blog and my new addiction to Query Shark I'm almost eager to send out some queries just to see what it does to my mental state.  Could I too become a query letter addict?

Writers are meanTop 50 author put downs.

I saw some links to interesting articles on plot on this blog - and judging purely by the previous post, Justus has a similar method to me which makes me feel a lot less lonely out here on this sloppy plotting branch.

Amusing discussion on kidlit - Swear words in y/a fiction.  The comments are the best part because they swing from one end of the scale to the other.  Some of the people would probably pass out if they heard what the kids in my neighbourhood openly call their parents to their faces.  I'm talking 8 year olds here. 

Nathan Bransford made me feel even more at a loss by asking people when they know if a manuscript is working.  I never know.  What the fook is wrong with me?

Red Adept gave the best review I have ever seen.  Seriously, get a room.  No, really, it was the first sale her reviews have ever gotten out of me because we have dissimilar taste in books.  This time, she had me at hello, or rather - I was so glad I didn't stop reading.  Wow.  Just Wow.  Can't wait to read that book.

Sleep Talkin' Man scandalised me with this unwanted mental picture.  Who else on this planet is such an arrogantly funny git when they are asleep?  If he didn't get all of this aggression out at night, I'm pretty certain he'd be a serial killer or something.

A blog post on book covers had me nodding my head in agreement.  I would love to see some more experimental ways of attracting readers by the way.

Lastly - a note to Trent.  Or Padraigggggggggggggg.  Whoever, I don't care.  It's been over a month.  Get cracking on the next chapter.  A random quote in honour of Trent's adventures - A man in a hat entered the room. He took off the hat. “It’s you!” They all said.  And one more 'cos I'm cool like that.  He shook his head to refocus on what he had to do. “Oh yes, killing all them people” Trent thought.

And now I'm off to watch me some Jensen.  Good times.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Marketing, Promoting, Languishing

Apparently it is all about the benjamins after all.  I'm tired of hearing about money, sales, promotions, marketing techniques, etc.  Let's get back to talking about writing.  No?  Fine, I'm outnumbered as usual so I'll join 'em.  Saves me thinking up something original to say, cheers.  I'll go over old ground and regurgitate that which has been said many times before.  No, I'm not qualified but I listen more often than speaking so I pick up a few things here and there.  Let's get to it.

So you write a book.  (Hopefully) edit it.  (Hopefully) format it correctly.  Make a nice cover, concoct an intriguing blurb, pick a sweet spot of a price point, whack it on to Kindle, Smashwords and wherever else you can think of.  Then you run around online throwing your link, your sales pitch and yourself in the paths of many.  But nothing happens.  Hmm.  This was supposed to be easy.  Where are all of those magical sales you were promised?

Promotion is not easy.  Writing a book is the easy part.  (In comparison I mean, I'd still find it easier to give birth than actually properly confidently finish a book.)  People say things like - All you have to do is get yourself out there or Promote it everywhere you can or If you don't boast about it who will?  We're left with a whole bunch of writers spewing about their book in random places and not really knowing what the hell they are doing or where they are going wrong.  It works for them, they think, so why not me?

First of all, people lie. They exaggerate.  There's no such thing as "all you have to do is" because there is no one magical route that works.  One size does not fit all. Look at it from a reader's point of view.  They are looking out for good books at decent prices but more importantly they are looking for books that interest them.  Sure, you have to promote but you also have to make sure you're promoting wisely, as in, advertising to the right people.  You can spend 100 hours copying and pasting your link & blurb on every thread and website going but you would be better off spending one hour getting involved in a community that actually reads the type of story you write.  Getting involved means actually adding something substantial, not perpetrating link dropping hit and runs.

Find your target audience and concentrate on them.  Don't try to trick people into reading a genre they aren't comfortable with by posting misleading blurbs.  Don't sit there for hours trying to dream up convoluted methods of insinuating your book's title into random conversations.  Involve yourself in a community and try not to act like a tosspot because the payback of vengeful readers is truly, gloriously vicious.  And if you're a tosspot, you'll probably deserve it.  If you get on somebody's badside and feel their wrath, rise above it.  People will notice.  And maybe even sympathise.  Incessantly whining about it will reverse that sympathy.

Blog.  Update it regularly.  Try to be witty.  Or informative.  Or funny.  Or take one for the team and post reviews/link love/updates on the publishing world in general.  Try not to post about why people should buy your book in every single post.  But be generous and do some promoting of books you didn't write.  Let people trust your word and they will listen when you need them to.  Visit other blogs.  Post an opinion when you actually have one and not just because you want a link back or a chance to insert your book pitch.  Problem with a blog is you have to promote that too.  Be prepared.  It is not a case of write it and they will come.  You have to show them the way.  Take part in blog carnivals, anthologies, charitable online events, blog tours and guest posting sessions.  Anything useful that will give you a bit of exposure and a possible link back is terrific.  Just make sure that you are just as useful or entertaining.  Swapping chapter previews with similar writers is an excellent form of reciprocal promotion that doesn't come across as naff unless the writing isn't as good as it could be.

Try to make your blog and author website readable.  If people go blind looking at it then odds are they won't return and they definitely won't take the time to read all of those free samples you'll provide of your work.  Yes I said free.  Add music and flashing lights and we are entering dodgy territory.  Some people have their volume on loud, try not to embarrass them with an unexpected naff tune.  Animations and fade outs are irritating, particularly if you are trying to read something on the same page.  Most people cannot read white text on a black background for more than ten seconds without getting a headache.  Fair warning.  If people want to crawl inside their monitors and slap you one then there is something very wrong with your online presence.  If they complain, don't get pissy about it, see if they have a point and then be brave enough to change things.

Look out for unusual avenues of promotion.  They might not work well but don't be a judgemental git, give a variety of methods a chance.  Who is at the top of your market?  Check out what they are doing.  Certain things might appeal to your target audience that wouldn't work in other genres.  Don't be afraid to be innovative and try new things.  The one who started it all is cool.  A couple of years later.  Don't forget that everything takes time.  Social networking can be your most valuable tool.  But only if you use it wisely and make it personal.  Posting links and repeat links constantly can be wearisome for those reading it.  Be relevant and of course add news about your book but make sure you show off some of your sparkling personality too. 

Don't have a shitfit whenever you get a middling review - for one people are entitled to their own opinions, so take your head out of your arse for five seconds and see if you can figure out what exactly it is they are telling you they didn't enjoy or connect with.  Develop a thicker skin and stop taking less than adoring comments as personal insults.  Do not, under any circumstances, respond in a hostile way to negative reviews.  Are you crazy?  Nobody forgets those writers but for all the wrong reasons.  And please, for the love of everything, don't beg people for great reviews because you gave them one.  Or ask people who have never read your book to help you manipulate the biggest ego boosting reviews to the top of the list on your Amazon page.  I hope I don't need to say this but don't create multiple personalities and review your own book.  That's just wrong.  In so many, many ways.  Guilt tripping family and friends into leaving excellent reviews isn't much better.  Some people say you need a task force around you and that may be so but make sure they actually believe in your book first.

Developing an online presence or brand doesn't mean you have to limit yourself to using a computer to get the word out.  Give your books (and business card or flyer complete with web links) to libraries, donate them to raffles, ask the local newspapers to run a piece on a local kid done good.  Go to bookshops and ask them to stock your book or allow you to do a signing.  Bring your family and try and whip some enthusiasm up in the shop itself and online.  Borders in Dublin, may it RIP, was always open to indie musicians and writers.  Even the big shops may surprise you so don't be scared, the worse they can say is no.  Don't cry if book signings fail, it happens to well known writers too.  People are surprisingly helpful if they are just asked.  (By the way, people who work in bookshops are amazing at promoting your book if they have read it and enjoyed it.  Customers listen.  Take note.)

Getting yourself out there doesn't mean you have to become Spammy McSpamalot and wreck the heads of millions.  Promote it everywhere you can doesn't actually mean you can promote it everywhere.  There's a time and place for everything.  And if you don't boast about it, who will doesn't really mean you should mislead people into thinking your book is something it isn't.  Your book does not cover every single genre out there so don't even try.  Feel free to go forth and multiply your book linkage but remember who exactly it is you're supposed to be targeting.  You have to give a lot more than you receive.  The best publicity you will ever get is from the person who genuinely loves your book and recommends it unasked.  You can't fake that.  One of the greatest things you can have is a well written book.  Know what's better?  Two well written books.  Keep writing, keep listening to advice and keep giving.  Karma is a thing of beauty.

I could go on but this is already novella sized material.  Pay attention to what people are saying and use some common sense.  Hard sells are offputting in general.  Arrogance is not generally seen as a good quality.  T'would be excellent if you could learn from the mistakes of others but unfortunately sometimes you have to make your own.  Pick yourself back up and keep on moving forward.  In the words of the late but great Aaliyah - "If at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writer's Doubt

Some writers are scarily confident in their work.  Fair play to them, they believe in their story and their writing skills enough to tell the world how good it is and they are.  Then, all the way down at the other end of the spectrum are the doubting writers.  The ones who wake up in the middle of the night worrying their last line wasn't as great as they had hoped it would be.  The ones who finish a chapter fully satisfied with its progress only to become convinced it is hopelessly bad within an hour.  They are the self deprecating ones, the ones who find their stomach's churning with anxiety at the thought of someone else reading their work.  The ones who constantly second guess themselves and their work.  The ones who constantly edit and re-write, struggling to find the perfect phrases that will add to the perfect story.

Most people who are creative have an awful habit of also being perfectionists.  This is, imo, why so many people who are gifted with a knack for manipulating words into just the right sentences avoid the task completely.  They are afraid they will never fulfill their dreams of achieving the perfect story.  So many perfectionists never attempt to strive for perfection because they know full well that they will fail.  What if, just short of perfection, there is a scale that is achieveable and attainable and better yet, one that readers will fall head over heels in love with?  What if the world is being deprived of the greatest stories because of fear of failure and that dreaded writer's doubt?

I've come across many people who should write but don't.  And many who want to be great but aren't.  And even those who will work hard until they are.  And then there are those who are really good but doubt themselves until writing becomes a chore, something to despise and dread and maybe even something to give up on.  They won't recognise that their story is complete because they will always see something that can be improved.  I think it is a good thing to want to improve but when you let writer's doubt get on top of you, it can be suffocating, so much so that writing anything becomes impossible.  There is nothing as restrictive as your own negative thoughts.  So let go of the doubt and give yourself a pat on the back every now and then.  And know that you are not alone, most of us are plagued with the same doubts and yet most of us still keep writing.  Even if it isn't great, even if it never will be.  There's a lot to be said for this kind of manic persistance.  :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Can Too Many Characters Spoil A Plot?

I've had an idea for a series for quite a while now.  Something fun and paranormal and not too serious.  I've scribbled down a few notes on characters and discovered that I seem to have quite a few that are pertinent to the plot.  My original plan was to use one or two characters in each chapter (each having their own journey that is followed throughout the book).  These characters would all share a common goal, some will meet up along the way and inevitably, all will play a major part in the climax of the story.  At first I figured on three main characters (I keep choosing three MCs, I have no idea why) but as my ideas developed, I found myself with an entire cast on my hands. 

Therein lies the problem.  Will too many characters weaken the plot?  Confuse the reader?  Dilute the connection readers feel with the characters?  I'm always afraid that writing in third person takes away some of the intimacy but doing it with a lot of characters could either work very well or fail on a truly epic scale.  I could put the focus on one character at a time and give other characters their own book in the series but sometimes that can be disappointing for those who connect with the first MC.  I tend to enjoy books that read from the POV of various characters but there are always some who are more entertaining than others.  It can become all too easy to skim past the less interesting characters to get back to the chapters of the ones you like best.  I could put a limit on the jumping between POVs and have two or three main groups of people from the start rather than linking them together slowly but that doesn't sound quite right either.

Decisions, decisions.  I have been known to re-write entire books because I've changed my mind about the POV so I'd love to make the right choice before I put a few months into this.  Any advice?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Check Out My New Look

I spent hours, literally hours, last night looking at templates for my blog.  I saw some amazingly beautiful ones but none quite worked with what I wanted in the sidebars.  I was hoping for a nice centred blog with a right and left sidebar, page links, pretty yet readable colours and a decent header - a mixture of whimsy and professionalism, not sure that's even possible.  I couldn't find the one so I settled for a template partly because I was feeling the name.  Tired Girl.  That was me after looking at hundreds of blog templates. 

I like it.  I do.  But I don't love it.  It's not really me but I don't have the energy to look again for a few days.  I don't want to mess around with templates myself because I know me.  And I know that I'm rusty.  I won't get anything else done for two weeks while I try to perfect it.  I was supposed to be getting some work done when I initially got distracted by layouts and themes.  Then I was supposed to be sleeping.  I knew I shouldn't have started googling templates at that time of night. 

Knowing my luck, I'll see the same template elsewhere today and have to change it again straightaway.  I don't know how people find the perfect website design, blog template, book cover, etc.  If anyone has the secret, please let me know.  :)  I don't know why it is so important to me to get the right blog template when I'm so half hearted about book covers but it just is.  I've looked at my blog about seven times since I started writing this post and I'm liking it less each and every time.  I'm feeling writer's doubt setting in except it's aimed at my blog's appearance.  Maybe I don't like it after all.

Expect changes . . .

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lost in Twitterverse

I have to admit, the whole Twitter thing loses me.  All of that retweeting and hash tagging and lists - don't even get me started on things like Follow Friday.  It actually makes me feel old.  I've been looking through my blog feeds trying to find the original post (which reminds me I really need to sort out my blog links section) and I can't find it but somebody, somewhere recommended TweetDeck.  It is a program that allows you to keep your Twitter account/s, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn accounts all in the one easily updated place.  Thankfully I only have one Twitter and one Facebook account to contend with.

You arrange columns of things you want to see, for example, one useful one is to see when anyone replies to your tweets (or whatever it's meant to be called).  Little updates pop up on your desktop so you never miss a thing.  That might get annoying if you're following 20,000 people but it works for me okay.  I'm finding it easier to feel interested in the whole Twitter thing while using TweetDeck, going to the website feels a little blah and boring, especially having to scroll down to see what people said while I was asleep.  I feel stupid adding tweets about what I'm doing so I tend to let it link to my blog mostly.  Sometimes I retweet - if I remember how.  Like I said, it makes me feel old and out of touch.  But it is useful because I've found so many interesting blogs from other people posting links.  Think I'll stick with TweetDeck for a while and see how it goes.

Yesterday, one of my smallest angels whipped most of the buttons off my laptop keyboard in less than three seconds.  Not for the first time.  He has a gift, and exceptionally fast & grabby hands.  I won't tell you how long it's taking me to type out this post because of sticky and missing buttons.  For someone who learned to type on a typewriter, I make a lot of freaking mistakes.  It's only 15euro to replace the buttons but it's much more fun to window shop for a new laptop instead.  I've never used a Macbook before but that's what I'm coveting these days.  I'm a little scared I'll have trouble using one but from what I've read, it shouldn't be too much trouble.  I spent ages perusing them last night but there is no chance of a new laptop on my horizon any time soon.  Curious about how many people actually do go back after using a Mac.  Any thoughts?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How Much Are You Worth?

Yesterday, I told someone I was thinking about indie publishing a novel.  They asked me how much I was going to price it for.  I said, "Oh, just like the others I think - 99c."  Their response was to look at me like I was insane.  "Is that all you think you're worth?"  I found myself defending the 99c price point which felt ridiculous and got me nowhere.  This person doesn't read ebooks for one, and for another, they have a completely different view on value than I do.  They value a dvd collection based on the number of minutes viewing, a book on the number of pages - that isn't how I see it at all.

People are constantly discussing price.  Between the agency deal and indies undercutting the very lowest prices possible, there is a huge disparity and thus huge debate on the value of ebooks.  Content is valuable and yet not as valuable as it once was.  I used to earn a living writing non-fiction and web content.  In the beginning my prices were low so I could prove myself.  I quickly worked up the scale because I was reliable and good at what I did.  But it's hard to enjoy that sort of work when there are fantasy worlds being created in your head on a daily basis.

I ended up leaving "the business" because my family was growing - still is - and because I was spending so much time on something that would never make me happy.  It's not all about the Benjamins baby.  Now, most of the companies I worked for have gone bust and I'm glad I got out when I did or I would probably be owed a lot of money like so many others.  I started off with a low price point, raised my prices when I had proved myself a bit and then the market was flooded with like minded people, all cutting each other's prices and essentially devaluing the entire thing.  At certain points, many writers tried to establish a certain price point but many more writers simply wanted to get paid.  Something.  Anything.  So the control on pricing could never work.

Now, I see ebooks in the same way.  You don't charge a fortune for your first book.  You set a low price point to prove yourself.  You gain some readers and inevitably you will be able to charge a higher price because now there are some people out there who know you are worth it.  Trouble is, a million other people come along with the same ideas.  They saturate the market and some are more than willing to keep charging at the lowest price points possible and in effect devaluing what you do.  Then Amazon add their piece with their higher royalty rates for those who charge a little extra and thus change the whole game.  They are big enough and influential enough to keep things on track with a smart business model that benefits them and indies.

Nothing lasts forever.  The sales of today are not a guarantee of the sales of tomorrow.  Part of the problem in other writing industries arose when writers undercut each other so much that clients expected low prices and their expectations of value changed.  There were a lot more writers than jobs and the recession didn't help at all.  Compare it to fiction.  In the bad times, I truly believe that people turn to fiction as a form of escape.  What easier way to escape than to read a cheap ebook?  Buy enough cheap ebooks and you might begin to falter on the price points once they raise a little.  You get used to a certain price and anything higher becomes a conscious decision.  Is it worth the value? 

Eventually things will settle down and there will be a new low price point but don't be surprised if, come the summer, the 99c books are kicking the arses of the $2.99 offerings.  After all, you can buy three 99c books for instead of just one that is priced at $2.99.  99c is an impulse buy, $2.99 might not be.  99c is a bargain (actually so is $2.99 but that's for another post) and as such is also a throw away book.  A lot of people buy 99c books and never end up reading them.  They buy a number of cheap books at the same time and let them languish away on their ereaders, forgetting all about them and probably never bothering to review them.  Compare that to a more expensive book.  Instantly, it is more valuable.  Not comparing the quality here, we're comparing the price.  A more expensive book is more likely to be put at the top of TBR piles.  People want to get what they paid for so they are more likely to finish a more expensive book.  They are also more likely to care about their feelings for that book and thus more likely to review. 

Of course, I'm generalising.  But as the ebook market grows so will the amount of books and new writers.  So will the readers who have different ideas on what constitutes value.  There will still be plenty of people willing to offer the lowest prices in order to get sales and jump ahead of the more expensive books.  I am pretty confident that it will balance out in the end but I am also prepared for a rocky road in the meantime no matter what price point I choose.  Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to pricing.  You are the only one who can decide what you feel you are worth - be it whatever the masses are willing to pay or whatever the true fans are willing to pay.  The best thing about being indie is the control and the fact that you can change your mind so less stressing on the price issue.  Nobody can really predict the future, we can only try to assess the possibilities. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Crazy Writers

Read this post if you are a crazy writer.  This is so me, it's beyond funny.  Especially the narrative voice in the background of my daily life.  Seriously, I already knew I was crazy but the more I write, the worse I get.  My partner definitely agrees and he doesn't know the half of it.  I used to think that writing was keeping me sane but now I'm not so sure!  At least it's streaming my insanity into something halfway productive.

I am ploughing my way through a new story so I keep forgetting to blog, eat and sleep amongst other things.  I even attempted to plan an outline which actually went surprisingly well.  I have a strong beginning and a strong end and a very vague middle which is just the way I like it.  If the middle is too well planned out, I get bored of writing it.  So, yay me.  My poor smallies have been neglected, I haven't written them a new story in a while but at least they'll have plenty to read by the time they are teens.  Unless they follow in their Daddy's footsteps and decide that reading an entire book would be wrong in some way. : /

I seriously considered buying a kindle today.  I've wanted one for ages and the small one is less than 200euro.  I would get one in an instant if I could get my hands on free books and not have to pay the extra couple of dollars for downloading priced books.  Kindle readers in the U.S. are so lucky.  I buy Kindle books and read them on my PC sometimes but I would buy so much more if I had a Kindle.  I have a Sony but the freebies don't quite compare to Amazon's.  Although the iPad looks cool, it's a little too ginormous for me, I want something small that I can hold in the bath or in bed.  Maybe by the time I have enough royalties to buy a Kindle, there will be a good value european version of the kindle store.  Us crazy writers, we're always dreaming.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Check out my free samples!  I signed up for Bookbuzzr last night because I've been hearing it mentioned so much.  I need to read about the same place at least ten times before I actually go and see for myself what it's about.

You sign up, upload your books and information, set which pages to sample (although I can't seem to get that to work properly) and then you get a cute little widget that displays your book.  People can read the sample and you can  even add links to where it is on sale.  The widgets are obviously a little slow because they need to load up but I think they look great.

You can only upload pdf files but they provide linkage to a file converting site that is really easy to use.  You also have to upload a cover image.  As well as the usual information, you can add a sort of a back story that people can read before the actual book loads up.  You can add your widget to a blog or website, even facebook and they offer a tweeting service that automatically updates your Twitter account.  Now I've seen this with other people and it can get a bit spammy looking so I'm going to keep an eye on that part in particular.

I've no idea if this kind of thing is generally useful for most people but I love me some pretty shinies and this definitely qualifies for shiny.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Short Story Competition

The second short story competition on Boards Creative Writing forum is now underway.  This time, the Book Depository have donated a prize or two. 

This is the outline:  Jude sits on a plane, midflight. In Jude's jacket pocket is a piece of paper containing details that will change Jude's life forever. The plane's intercom pings and the captain makes an announcement...

I can't wait to read all of the entries.  Last time, the outline turned out to be a bit restrictive in the end - the most imaginatively original styles seemed to receive the most votes.  No bad thing either, it should be a lesson to think outside the box.  This one could go in many different directions so it will be fun to see where they all lead.

For updates, check out the forum or IrishWriters on Twitter.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mash Up Blogging

I've been thinking about how fun it would be to write in collaboration with another person - then I read this tandem story and am now convinced my life wouldn't be complete without trying it.  :)

My laptop appears to be dying a slow death which is unfortunate because it has lasted longer than any other piece of technology I have ever owned.  And it is one of the cheapest laptops I have ever bought.  I have a small netbook but I'm not fond of it.  It's pretty but less convenient to use.  Typing is fine once you get used to the smaller sized keyboard but editing is harder on the small screen.  Plus, using the Internet forces the thing to slow down so much it belongs to 2005 rather than 2010. 

Speaking of editing, I'm doing a minor rewrite at the moment.  I can't stop myself from nitpicking but it definitely needs to be tighter.  I've read a lot of comments recently about clean first drafts but I doubt that will ever happen for me.  There is always something to improve.  Or is that a sign of a bad writer?  Either way, I'm hoping I'll know when to stop.  My OH made me take a break for a few days because he reckoned I was working too hard and stressing myself out.  (In fairness, he has seen me burn out before from writing too much.)  He put a guilt trip on me by saying it wasn't good for the baby.  That just made me chew up everything the instant I got back to writing.  He also recommended I keep editing until I'm completely happy with something but I don't think that's even possible.  Is anyone out there ever truly satisfied with their work?

There is still a lot of discussion on Agency pricing.  One thing I've noticed is that big name authors, or well publicised books are no longer being looked at as examples to strive for.  On Amazon in particular, the reviews of books seem to be harsher than before.  It seems like everyone is tired with the lazy writing from some popular authors.  That can't be a bad thing.  I'm thinking critical reviews are going to help sway the outcomes of the pricing changes.  One of my previously favourite authors has noticeably declined over the years yet they are still producing a book a year.  My choices are a well promoted, expensive book that contains poor writing guaranteed to disappoint but is fronted by a well known name or a variety of cheaper books by unknown authors that have the potential to be good and are low enough in price to be less of a regret if they aren't.  I know what I'm going for.

By the way, Smashwords have distributed to Sony in the last day or two.  They are quietly yet steadily moving along.  It's good to see.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Thanks to Nanowrimo '09, I have a free proof copy code for CreateSpace.  I have never planned on getting into Indie paperbacks because I wanted to learn more about Ebooks.  But I am going to use the proof copy and get a feel for how CreateSpace works.  They are another company who require those outside of the U.S. to acquire an ITIN before they payout royalties.  Not that I would expect to make many royalties on paperbacks, I believe most indies have more success with digital formats than traditional ones. 

Having absolutely no idea on the CreateSpace submission requirements or guidelines, I had a look at their website and left feeling even more clueless than when I started.  Note, I am a completely beginner and probably have less common sense than the average person.  There isn't a lot of detailed information there, possibly because they have so many additional services.  Why give information for free when you can confuse people into spending money?  I read a free Indie Ebook detailing how to set up a book for CreateSpace but it must have been outdated because the information was definitely not relevant.  I searched about on the community and saw that there is a lot of info there and some CreateSpace members have even written up their own advice.  Some provide free pdf downloads with their knowledge on submitting to CreateSpace.  If you can't be bothered working it all out then there are plenty of people willing to help out.  For a small fee, of course.

Once, you understand how it works, it isn't that hard.  Not that it's particularly simple either.  I've messed about on Lulu and CreateSpace trying to figure them out.  On Lulu, you can upload your manuscript using a word document but apparently CreateSpace only allow pdfs.  On both, you can use their cover wizards and create your own cover.  Using your own images is probably a good idea though.  I believe that CreateSpace works out cheaper on proof copies particularly if you order their ProPlan which sounds like a good idea, particularly if you plan on ordering a number of proof copies because they will work out cheaper on this plan.  Royalties increase also. As soon as I have ordered a proof copy (and received it) then I'll blog about the entire process in more detail. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Distribution, Taxes and Dreams

Smashwords have been busy distributing.  This month shipments have gone to both Apple and Barnes & Nobles.  Dates have been listed for all other shipments bar Amazon although the Sony one seems to be getting delayed.  I joined Smashwords last month so my manuscripts were included in a shipment to Kobo although I don't know how that figures in with actually appearing on their website.  I'm in no hurry, it's nice to see how things are working - and the fact that they are in fact working is reassuring. 

A lot of people have been wondering why they should opt in on the distribution with Amazon when they are already in the Kindle Store.  I'm almost certain that I read a great reason why we should but I can't for the life of me find it again.  I'm sure if it was true that it will reappear before the first shipment to Amazon. 

In the updates section on Smashwords, they mention making the subject of tax for those outside of the U.S. easier.  Possibly they are considering giving some kind of guidance.  That would be absolutely fantastic because my head is melted from it and it is necessary to obtain an ITIN before Smashwords (and other places) can pay out.  You have to fill out a W7 form to apply for one if you live outside of the U.S. which isn't actually too bad if you ignore the help on the IRS website.  Seriously. 

The main problem is that the U.S. don't accept these forms at any old time, next opening appears to be May and you need your identification notarised.  It seems like I can do this at the U.S. embassy in Ireland for 30 dollars but I'm still not positive all of that is exactly the process.  I am confuddled so a bit of a step by step easy to understand guide would be incredibly superific.  The more I read on the subject, the more confused I become especially when most of the things I have read have pretty much conflicted with each other. It can't possibly be that complicated.

It is at times like this when I wish everything wasn't so U.S. based.  A European version of Amazon's DTP and Smashwords would make things a lot simpler.  That whole UK Kindle Store that was promised would be a bonus too.  If I win the lotto I'm so setting up a European competitor.  :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In Which I Become Random And Deranged

Trying very hard to focus on not touching a certain story for a few weeks because I'm so close to it but it is all I want to work on.  So annoying when my brain doesn't want to obey.  I was supposed to work on something in particular this morning.  This something in particular needs to be handed over very soon but instead I had great fun researching for the story I'm not supposed to be touching.  I think I've mentally written a serial of four more books in the midst of my procrastination.  'Sake.  I made a pdf copy of the unnamed untouchable manuscript and put it on the E-reader just to see what it was like.  I found two mistakes on the second page.  Two.  In the one sentence!  I wanted to headbutt a wall.  Deep breaths - moving on.

I'm coveting the iPad right now.  Yeah, yeah, I know it isn't perfect or even a "real" e-reader but I am dying to play with one.  I want to see what the iBookstore looks like so badly.  I've seen pictures that make me ache inside.  I am a sucker for advertising.  It might also be because I'm pissed off with My Precious itself, my E-reader, because it freezes way more often than necessary.  It's annoying me now.  I don't have the patience to try and fix things so I throw it down until my better half can sort it out.  Replacing it sounds like such a good idea sometimes. 

There is a just for fun short story/flash fiction competition on Boards.  The creative writing forum is linked on the right over there.  A random short description was given and everyone had to write less than a thousand words.  Now it is being voted on.  In order to vote, you must leave a comment saying why you voted for that story/stories.  I love things like this (especially when I'm busy procrastinating).  If anyone knows of any other similar contests I can read then please share.

And now I have to go and suck the fun out of everything because my children are playing an "It's all going to end in tears" sort of game.  SuperMammy saves the day yet again.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Get Up, Stand Up

The reactions to the new Agency Pricing thing have been great.  Most people are annoyed enough to talk about doing something about it, be it complaining to the publisher, switching completely to indies or going back to the libraries and second hand shops.  I know that in the end most of us will suck it up and accept it but these publishers have done themselves a long term disservice.  Although their plan seems to include diminishing the lure of Ebooks in general, they have made themselves come across as greedy.  A lot of people are noting who these publishers are and many of them are planning on buying secondhand books rather than a new paperback/hardcover so the publisher won't benefit. 

Amazon has made it easier to pinpoint the culprits by stating those books have their "Price set by publisher" and adding the new price into a different column, i.e. not Amazon's price column anymore.  This was the perfect reaction by Amazon in my opinion.  Without much fuss, they have given their customers an opportunity to be mad at the publishers and it is now much easier to tell which books are complying with Agency Pricing and which lights in the darkness are not.  I've heard a lot of indies mention an influx of sales this weekend.  That could be accounted to the long weekend but maybe it isn't.  Maybe the cheaper, non-big publishing houses and indies are getting the business the others would have received this weekend had they been a bit more sensible on the pricing issue.

People are going to keep buying Ebooks, particularly with so many different options on the market in terms of Ereaders.  We haven't all spent a big chunk of cash upfront to pay more for an Ebook than a hard copy.  So books will be bought and fortunately, there are plenty of people more than willing to sell books for a reasonable price.  The rise of Ebooks is unlikely to be squashed this time, both readers and writers have invested too much time and money to scurry back under a rock.  The Big Six have taken themselves out of the game momentarily but I'm thinking that they are thinking too much of themselves.  They might be good at sniffing out the occasional commercial success but they have lost touch with the most important people, the readers.  Big mistake.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


It seems like every time I have a concern or a conversation about that concern then someone in the blogosphere has blogged about it the very next time I log on.  Spooky share-a-brain I believe is the official term.  Last night I had a very long discussion about who, as writers, we are supposed to be writing for.  I've been haunting discussion boards on Amazon, free content places like Wattpad and just about anywhere I can get an opinion.  I see that so many people want a specific formula.  And so many people really do not want a specific formula.  And that's not even considering those looking for an agent or a traditional publisher.  That's a whole different ball game too.  When a group of people argue about whether a story is good, bad or just plain boring, who exactly should you listen to?

I log on this morning to see - lo and behold, on the Kidlit blog, the question is addressed - who am I writing for?  Of course, the advice is to write for the professionals which is one of the reasons why so many indies are in fact indies.  They want to write for readers not professionals and definitely not those involved in marketing or sales.  Finding the right audience is harder than it sounds and yet so important.  I think I've just written a book for people like me and I haven't as yet met anyone like me so I think that might count as an epic fail.  Seriously though, the right audience can change everything.

Which leads me to an interesting post by Zoe Winters entitled The New Patrons.  Loving this post because it is so true.  Those inner circle of fans who really care about the books (and sometimes the author too) are the ones who make the biggest difference in terms of its success and more.  I love to see people really investing a part of themselves in a book that they've loved.  It might not be perfect but they see something special and are willing to put themselves out to try and improve it, make it work and get it out there in the world.  True fans are the ones who make or break a story in my opinion.  The most successful books (depending what you deem as successful) are the ones that people really care about.  At the same time, they are usually the books that a large chunk of people despise but either way, they stir up strong feelings.  I don't get why some authors haven't embraced this fact but they are missing out if they underestimate these fans.

Tomorrow is Easter so I may be too busy cleaning up chocolate handprints to blog.  (Thanks, extended family, thanks a whole bunch).  Have a good one, whatever you do.

Friday, April 2, 2010

First Shipment To Apple

The first shipment from Smashwords to Apple has already gone out.  A lot of people had mistaken errors on their books so I expect there will be another shipment relatively soon.  It will be interesting to see what the sales will be like across the board.  I hope that at least a few of the really good Indies have a lot of success.  I'm wondering how the sales will compare to Amazon and if there will be an initial burst of purchasing or will people wait it out a little before splurging.  I'm curious to see which genre will come out on top.

Apparently this new distribution deal has made Smashwords seem more desirable to writers because they reported record numbers of books being published as well as an unprecedented amount of traffic.  I can only imagine the queues when trying to update or upload a book - Smashwords has been growing increasingly busy over the last month and now everyone has been trying to get on board in time for the first shipments to Apple. 

Sorry if this post is full of mistakes, I can barely keep my eyes open and it's only 10am . . .

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools

It's the first of the month.  The morning when you might check your Amazon sales and think Aw because there are no transactions yet. 

The Agency Pricing debacle is finally underway.  I say debacle because it doesn't make any sense to me.  Book sellers are losing a major route to being competitive.  Deals are being made behind the scenes even now.  I keep imagining frantic nerds with contracts in their hands scurrying around the world in an attempt to finalise things.  Lots of pre-order kindle books have vanished from Amazon and other distributor websites because the deals haven't been finalised yet.  Lots of angry customers with money to spend and nothing to spend it on.  Lots of 99c indies rubbing their hands together gleefully in anticipation of the massive spending splurge from disgruntled big publishing house haters.

Maybe it will go smoothly.  Maybe consumers will want to spend more on digital versions of books that cost money to be shipped.  Yeah, right.  People like a bargain.  Bargain hunting is practically a past-time for a chunk of the world's population.  Now what?  Either spend more or go to the library and hope for the best?  Or, turn to indies as the best option?  Go back to paper?  Stop reading altogether?  I'm curious to see how all of this pans out but I am loving that it all begins on April Fool's day.  Seems appropriate.